Kmart Australia is a discount department store chain, that operates in Australia (and New Zealand trading as Kmart New Zealand). Wesfarmers (formerly the Coles Group) operates Kmart Australia Ltd under license from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States-based Sears Holdings Corporation (formerly the Kmart Corporation and Sears, Roebuck and Company).
Kmart Australia Limited was born out of a joint venture between G.J Coles & Coy (Coles) and Kmart Corporation in the US.
In 1978 Coles acquired full control of the operation and in 1994 bought back all shares Kmart Corporation held in Coles.
A long-term licensing agreement allows Coles Group to use the Kmart name. Kmart New Zealand shares merchandise and branding with Kmart Australia, and is owned by Coles Group Holdings New Zealand.
When its first store opened in Burwood East, Victoria in April 1969, Kmart Australia was 51 percent owned by the US version of Kmart. The Burwood store opened to intense interest, with an estimated 40,000 people passing through the checkouts on the first day.
Kmart's performance in recent years has been mixed. In May 2007, it reported a sales drop of 3.0% for the most recent quarter, and an overall drop in sales for the current year.
Announcing its plans in August 2007 for Coles Group following their expected takeover, Wesfarmers said it would consider selling all or part of Kmart, or converting some stores to the Target brand. Wesfarmers took control of Coles Group in November 2007 and by March 2008 had decided to retain Kmart and invest $300m in the chain over the next five years.
Specialises in automotive accessories, car servicing, tyres and checkups. Historically, these stores are usually (but not always) attached to a Kmart store. In early 2006 a number of vehicle servicing facilities at Shell service stations became Kmart Tyre and Auto Service outlets.
Kmart opened its first Clearance Centre on November 30, 2006, situated in Ringwood, Victoria. The Clearance Centre operates the same way as normal Kmart Stores, however all merchandise sells for much less. This format is similar to Megamart, a chain Kmart's corporate parent Coles Group operated during the early 2000s. The Clearance Centre closed in June 2007.
Specialised in garden, plants and garden furniture. Most of these stores were standalone, "big box" stores in a warehouse format that sell Kmart manufactured or branded outdoor living items. Many lines were not available at standard Kmart stores. The Kmart Garden Super Centre in Campbellfield is the only store that was attached to an existing Kmart store.
Kmart Garden Super Centres have been a major sponsor of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.
From circa 1999 to mid-2006 there were four Garden Super Centres in Victoria (Chadstone, Fountain Gate and Campbellfield and Watergardens), one in Queensland (Windsor) and one in NSW at Casula (The Crossroads). All stores except for the Campbellfield store have now closed and divested to Flower Power.
The future of the remaining Campbellfield store remains uncertain.